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Mon, Nov 19, 2001 - Page 3 News List

December 1 elections: Lien Chan makes appeal to former 'family' members

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday called on former party comrades to "return to the family" and unite under the KMT banner to oppose the DPP in the Dec.1 elections.

"The KMT is an open-minded party. We happily welcome all comrades to return to their family," Lien said during a campaign rally for Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), the party's legislative candidate in Taipei County.

Lien's remark was widely interpreted as an indirect response to New Party co-founder Yok Mu-ming's (郁慕明) recent proposal for regrouping the KMT, People First Party and New Party into a another party after the elections.

"Let's unite the family and fight it out with the DPP on Dec. 1," Lien added.

The PFP and New Party, both of which are splinter groups from the KMT, claim to be followers of Sun Yat-sen's (孫中山) doctrines. They enjoy broad support among voters of mainland Chinese origin, who tend to be pro-unification.

Since the KMT expelled its pro-independence former chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) it has been trying to restore support in this voter group to improve its chances of remaining the largest party in the legislature after the elections.

Lien said the voters would have to choose whether the "hard life" imposed by the DPP upon the people would come to an end.

Over the past 18 months of DPP rule, the country's unemployment rate, debts, suicide rate and crime rates have risen, while the economic growth rate, investment and people's incomes have nosedived, Lien said.

Under these circumstances, he said, the choice is "clear and simple," as the KMT is the party that created the Taiwan miracle in which the country's economy grew an average 8.1 percent a year.

"When choosing the KMT, we must unite and muster all our strength. Not a single vote can be wasted," Lien said.

The KMT was obliged to "restore order" to society, he continued, when some people were splitting the country along ethnic lines to "cheat votes out of the people for political interests."

Despite the rivalry between the KMT and DPP in the elections, a poll released yesterday showed that the percentage of people supporting a post-election KMT-DPP coalition was higher than that supporting a coalition of the KMT, PFP and New Party.

While 25.5 percent of respondents believed a KMT-DPP coalition would bring political stability, only 17.9 percent believed a KMT-PFP-New Party alliance would do the same.

The poll was conducted on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 by Decision Making Research who interviewed 803 people. Among KMT supporters, 26.5 percent supported the idea of a KMT-DPP coalition, and another 21.6 percent said they preferred a "pan-blue" coalition.

On the role of the KMT, 43.3 percent thought the KMT should cooperate with the government, compared with 39.1 percent who thought the KMT should act as an opposition party.

KMT legislator Chen Horng-chi (陳鴻基) and Taipei City Council deputy Chen Hsueh-fen (陳雪芬), who first proposed a KMT-DPP coalition last week, reaffirmed yesterday that the idea was consistent with mainstream public opinion.

They urged the DPP to stop its mud-slinging campaign against the KMT to pave the way for post-election reconciliation.

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